Making trades in a normal season is often difficult.
Matching up with a team is a hurdle and figuring out the finances involved is another.
However, as Monday’s trade deadline approaches, GMs and owners have to consider the effects of COVID-19. Without a minor league season there are no current reports on prospects from other organizations since scouts are not allowed into alternate sites. Video helps but isn’t perfect.
Then there is the health of players after a short spring training 2.0. And any player can opt out of the season at any time, including after being dealt. Of course, without revenue from empty seats that plays into the picture. More times than not teams with championship aspirations like the Yankees add players with bigger salaries. And the best-of-three first-round format is a crapshoot. Finally, the expanded playoff format has more teams thinking they have a chance and are less willing to sell.
Having lost reliever Tommy Kahnle for the season due to Tommy John surgery, placing starter James Paxton on the injured list with a flexor strain and losing reliever Zack Britton to a hamstring problem that has him on the IL, has the Yankees, who have been without Luis Severino (Tommy John) all year, looking for arms.
“We definitely are having conversations and engaging opposing teams. Clearly pitching is an area of focus for us,’’ GM Brian Cashman said prior to Saturday’s Subway Series 2-1 win against the Mets at Yankee Stadium. “Our rotation, if possible, our bullpen. Injuries have hurt us. That is not something that is not happening everywhere. I am not complaining about that, just acknowledging. We are certainly engaged with other teams trying to determine what is available in the market place and I would acknowledge it is a risky market place because of the COVID 2020 season. You don’t know what is around the corner because the pandemic is still real and exists and not going away anytime soon. All of those things are pressure points without a doubt.’’
While Cashman searches for pitching help, he hasn’t heard something that he has taken to Hal Steinbrenner, who Cashman has kept abreast of the market landscape.
“I have not been in position to go to Hal Steinbrenner and say, ‘I can do this and it is going to cost that,’ “ Cashman said. “Those type of conversations I hope to get to but I haven’t gotten there yet.’’